caza saikaley logo

Michel Bastarache, C.C., Q.C.

Counsel

  • Former puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
  • Routinely retained for public inquiries by governments
  • President of Administrative Tribunal of the Organization of American States in Washington

Biography

For more than a decade, Mr. Bastarache served as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, participating in 680 cases and rendering 143 rulings spanning a spectrum of matters, including those involving questions of commercial law, labour and employment, public law, administrative law, and the application of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Mr Bastarache was a member of the Interim Constitutional Court of Kenya responsible for the supervision of constitutional reform in 2010. He was also Commissioner, Commission d’enquête sur la nomination des juges au Québec, 2013. He was the Independent conciliator for the indemnification of victims of sexual abuse for the dioceses of Bathurst (2010-2012) and Moncton (2012-2014). In 2016, Mr. Bastarache was appointed as the independent assessor to manage the settlement of the Merlo/Davidson case, a class action against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police involving allegations of harassment, intimidation and discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation. Since 2015, he is vice president of the Administrative Tribunal of the Association of American States in Washington, a part time position, and is now serving as the president.

From 2008 to 2014, Mr. Bastarache was Counsel to the national law firm of Heenan Blaikie, where he headed a public law and appellate advocacy practice group. He was also a law professor and Dean at the University of Moncton Faculty of Law, and a law professor and Vice Dean the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, Common Law Section.

Mr. Bastarache has been very active in the business community, notably as President and Chief Executive Officer of a life insurance company (from 1989-1994). Furthermore, he has sat on countless boards and committees focused on legal education and the practice of law.

Mr. Bastarache has received numerous honorary doctorates, as well as prestigious decorations and awards in recognition of his outstanding leadership in private practice, legal education, and the public service. Mr. Bastarache was named jurist of the year, Association des juristes francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick, 1993. Ordre des francophones d’Amérique, government of Quebec, 1981. Awarded Canadian 125th anniversary medal, 1993. Prix Boréal, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes du Canada, 1995. Kavanagh Award, University of Ottawa, 1998. Received the Médaille de Commandeur de l’Ordre de la Pléiade, 1999, Goodman Fellow, University of Toronto, 1999. Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers, 2001. Received the medal marking the 125th anniversary of the University of Montréal’s Faculty of Law, 2003. Officier de la Légion d’honneur (France), 2003. Member, Common Law Honour Society, University of Ottawa,  2003. Mr. Justice Bastarache has been nominated as Companion, The Order of Canada, 2009. Recipient of Queen’s Jubilee Medal 2012. In 2013, Mr. Bastarache received l’Ordre du mérite from l’Ajefo and was appointed Queen’s Counsel for New Brunswick.

Mr. Bastarache is the editor and principal author of three books: Language Rights in Canada (Yvon Blais, 1987 and 2004 (2nd ed.)), Les droits linguistiques au Canada, (Yvon Blais 1986, 2006 and 2013). Précis du droit des biens réels (Yvon Blais, 1993 and 2001 (2nd ed.)) and The Law of Bilingual Interpretation (Butterworths, 2008). Numerous publications in collective works and periodicals.

Member of the Board of Directors of Air Nova, Fundy Cable, Corporate Communications and Paturel Seafood, 1993-95. Member of the Editorial Boards of the Revue générale de droit international, the Revue québécoise de droit international, the Revue générale de droit, the review C’est ton droit and the Revue du Nouvel Ontario, 1985-88. Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Bar Review, since 1998-2005.

Vice-Chair, National Judicial Institute, 2004-08; Member of the Canadian National Group to the Permanent Court of Arbitration, since 2005; Member of numerous committees on legal education and the practice of law. Member of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, 1992-94, Literacy New Brunswick, 1993-94, the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital for Children Foundation (Halifax), 1994-95, the Trudeau Foundation 2008-2014, and the Advisory Committees of the administration faculties at the University of Moncton and the University of New Brunswick at Saint John, 1994-95.

Mr. Bastarache works in English and French.

Admission to the bar

New Brunswick (1980), Alberta (1985), Ontario (1986), Quebec (2008), British Columbia (2015)

Education

LL.B. (University of Ottawa – 1978)
D.E.S Public Law (University of Nice – 1972)
LL.L. (Université de Montréal – 1970)
B.A. (Université de Moncton – 1967)

News & Blog

More news button

Category - Blog

“I’ll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.” — quote attributed to Bill Moyers (Former White House Press Secretary)


The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Quebec (Attor...
Read the article >

More news button

Category - News

Alyssa Tomkins Interviewed for Pro Bono Case for Thalidomide Survivors


Alyssa Tomkins interviewed by CBC about her pro bo...
Read the article >

More news button

Category - News

Announcing our Arbitration Practice Group!


We are honoured to have Michel Bastarache and Ivan...
Read the article >

More news button

Category - Blog

Can you be Held Liable for Comments of Others to your Posting on your Facebook Page?


When are you liable for the defamatory comments of...
Read the article >

More news button

Category - Case Summaries

Canadian Pension Plan Disability Benefits Are Not Disability Benefits From a Policy of Insurance


In a unanimous decision rendered on January 27, 20...
Read the article >

More news button

Category - News

Caza Saikaley LLP and Jeff Saikaley Named Finalists for the 2020 Faces Magazine Awards


Faces Magazine has announced its 2020 Ottawa Award...
Read the article >

More news button

Category - News

Caza Saikaley Prevails at the Federal Court of Appeal


On November 22, 2017, the Federal Court of Appeal ...
Read the article >

More news button

Category - News

Caza Saikaley’s James Plotkin in new International Arbitration Third-Party Funding Handbook


On March 23, 2018 in Vienna, Austria, Juris Publis...
Read the article >

More news button

Category - Case Summaries

Court of Appeal Confirms Notice of Libel Required for Online Publication of Newspaper


The Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed in a recentl...
Read the article >

More news button

Category - Case Summaries

Damages for Future Cost of Surrogacy Awarded Following Tragic Car Accident


In what is being deemed by many as a first in Cana...
Read the article >

View all news